Differences Between an Oral Surgeon and a Dentist

Patient and an Oral Surgeon

Patients who come to a dentist’s office usually start with an examination of their mouth, teeth, and jaw. A dentist may then recommend a treatment plan. If the situation requires a procedure that is outside of a dentist’s specialty, the dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. Levens Family Dentistry explains the differences between an oral surgeon and a dentist in today’s blog.

Definition of an Oral Surgeon

The American Dental Association recognizes oral surgery, also called maxillofacial surgery, as a specialty of dentistry. These specialists not only earn a license as a dentist through rigorous education at an accredited dental school, but they undergo further training, usually four to eight years, to become an oral surgeon after they earn a degree in dentistry. Oral surgeons typically learn more about how surgery works by spending time in a surgical environment at a hospital.

Treatments Done by an Oral Surgeon

Oral surgery involves more complicated treatments than just simple cleanings or tooth examinations. An oral surgeon may anesthetize — or numb — part of the mouth to extract a tooth.  

An oral surgeon often handles:

  • Simple tooth removals
  • Complex tooth removals that include bone
  • Impacted tooth removal
  • Wisdom teeth removal
  • Soft tissue removal
  • Putting in dental implants
  • Alignment of dental implants
  • Jaw joint disorders
  • Facial pain
  • Removal of tumors
  • Facial reconstruction after an accident

Some patients may have to be completely sedated before oral surgery. It sounds scary, but an oral surgeon is highly trained and will put your mind at ease if you need a complex procedure.

Treatments Done by a General Dentist

A general dentist can perform some types of oral surgery, such as a tooth extraction, root canal, or putting in dental implants. Dentists are already very well trained for these procedures. However, studies show that outcomes from such procedures are actually better when performed by an oral surgeon. Oral surgery specialists are also better trained to deal with complications from dental procedures, such as a broken tooth during an extraction.

Some treatments you receive from a general dentist are:

  • Basic dental exams and X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Sealants
  • Root canals
  • Bridges
  • Gum care

If a dentist feels your situation is beyond his or her scope of training, he or she will refer you to a specialist. Rest assured, you will be in good hands with a board-certified oral surgeon.

Talk to Levens Family Dentistry About Your Options

Dr. Levens promises to take good care of you. He will discuss your treatment options after giving you a thorough dental exam and help put your mind at ease. We treat you as if you’re part of our family, whether you need a cleaning, fillings, dental implants, a root canal, or an appointment to see an oral surgeon. Call us at (719) 574-1705 or request an appointment to schedule a dental exam.

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